On Thursday September 6th, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chad Faust, who plays Kyle Baldwin on the hit USA series The 4400. While Chad played a prominent role in the first two seasons of the sci-fi series, this is his first year as a series regular.
The 4400 centers on a group of 4400 ordinary people who were abducted over different periods of time, only for all of them to return at once through a ball of light. Slowly but surely, these returnees discovered that they all have extraordinary abilities. This season focuses on the government’s war on promicin, an injection that has 50% chance of giving you an ability and a 50% chance of killing you, and Kyle is at the forefront. His father, Tom, is one of the lead NTAC agents in charge of apprehending those who take the shot, but his leader, Jordan, is the one making it available to the public.
To all of our Canadian fans, Season four of The 4400 will premiere on SPACE on September 26 and air Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT. Be sure to watch!
Matt Basilo: How does it feel to now be a series regular?
Chad Faust: Well, it’s been going on for a while now. It kind of happened with us doing this mini-series and it evolved into this family that keeps living. It never really had time to click. It was so gradual, I love it.
MB: The second season really expanded and developed your character, and it was disappointing, as a viewer, that you spent most of last season unseen in jail.
MB: The first two seasons your character was some possessed by some outside forces. What was it like essentially having to play two different characters?
CF: It kept me interested. In the second season I think I might have played about five different versions of Kyle. There was a whole new level of consciousness going with him that he shifted between during that season. And each time the character shifted I needed to find who that person was and what he was about.
MB: That actually ties in nicely with my next question. Obviously we’ve learned a lot about your character since the beginning of the series. That season revealed Kyle’s sense of morality and conscience, when somebody else was going to pay for his crime. Do the writers let you know where your character is going?
CF: No. Occasionally one of them will let something leak about a storyline. (Please note: Some dialogue omitted due to poor reception). Once and a while they’ll leak something like that and I’ll have an inkling of what will happen at the end of season four. But no, nothing more than that.
MB: This season, we’ve also seen more about Kyle’s sense of loyalty, particularly towards his father and Jordan. What was it like jumping into the middle of the season’s major story arc?
CF: That was my favorite part of the season, that Kyle’s was in this classic struggle, a struggle between what he believes in as far as his outer world. His career, his ideology between that and family. And I think that’s this classic thing to play. His contribution to the world, his grander scheme, his grail or his family, his love, the people he cares about. It’s a struggle that I can personally relate to.
I felt this season the most connected I’ve been to Kyle, ever. I think in the past I kind of understood him, but I wasn’t necessarily going through that in my life. Whereas this year, this is stuff I’m going through.
MB: It’s interesting that this year is about the war on promicin, but nobody is really identified as “good” or “bad.” Have the writers given you any indication of whether you’re on the so-called right side?
CF: Never. It’s never been clear who’s good, who’s bad, who’s right, who’s wrong, which is something I appreciate. It’s always been left vs. right, or one side vs. another. Which I think is so reflective of our time. You can even say that with Democrats and Republics, or East vs. West, or North vs. South, or one team vs. another. There are so many sides and nobody’s right or wrong, it’s just different opinions about how we can make this world go about.
I’m so appreciative that our stories are reflecting what’s happening in the world today. Stories of past generations, it was always the good guys are in white and the bad guys are in black and it’s always very clear. The new age of storytelling, it doesn’t have to be that clear. It’s one opinion vs. the other, and the audience can decide who they agree with. And I personally don’t know who I would agree with. I’ve asked whose side I would be on, and I honestly don’t know. It’s tricky.
MB: It’s funny, because the whole war on promicin, it being a government and political thing, and you’re absolutely right: It does tie in very closely to real life. You have the war on drugs, where some people believe that it’s the government’s responsibility to protect people, while others believe it’s the citizens’ responsibility to decide what to do for themselves.
MB: It’s obviously something everyone can relate to.
CF: Exactly. It’s so funny, I was having dinner with Maira Suro, one of the producers, the other day, and her eight-year old daughter came to me and asked me if I would take promicin and why the government was keeping it illegal. And I explained to her, using the same metaphor with drugs today, that the government wants to protect people. It’s so funny that an eight-year asked me that. This girl is so evolved, she’s made me think of things I haven’t thought about, ever.
MB: Does not knowing pose any obstacles as an actor?
CF: No, I think it creates the reality. Because once you’re all knowing, unless your character is all knowing, like if I was Jordan Collier I’d want to know what everyone else does, but Kyle is never totally sure. Even when he says, “I’m going to help Jordan Collier, I’m going to create this world with Jordan Collier,” he still doesn’t know. There’s still a part of him that says, “Have I chosen the right side? Is this truly what I believe in, or am I just acting out of my ego? Or am I just doing this to spite my father? Or am I doing this just to have some purpose in my life?” All of this goes into some part of him that wonders. And I wouldn’t want to know if things are going to pan out for him or not. I think I enjoy this unknown quality to it.
MB: Here in the U.S., the show is on hiatus during the US Open. The last episode we saw was when Kyle and Isabelle reunited in Promise City.
MB: What can we expect from the rest of the season when it returns?
CF: Well, by the end of the season a lot changes in the show. There’s going to be a lot of change in a few of the core characters. I can’t talk about too much, but the last episode, especially how do I explain this without giving it away? A lot of carnage
MB: I’m definitely looking forward to that.
CF: Yeah, me too.
MB: A lot of people might not remember that it was actually Kyle, and not Shawn, who was intended to be abducted. Will we see this idea be revisited?
CF: Um, hmmm. I’m not sure it does get revisited in the rest of the season, other than the harmony that’s created in the “No Exit” episode, where the characters are forced to work together. There is a payoff to that story, and by the end it’s maybe one of the best moments we’ve had in the show. And it’s in the very last episode, and it’s resolved in some of the carnage. And I think that’s one of the most exciting things that I think has happened. It’s not so much directed to the abduction, but the bond they had before, and what has happened since.
MB: Obviously there has been a lot of conflict between the two characters this season.
CF: Yeah, that’s one of my favorite storylines that I’ve gotten to play. Such a push/pull thing, with young people, your egos are high and you both want to stand for something, and you’re on opposite sides of a way. Such a great conflict to play.
MB: A few of the actors and actresses you work with are around your age. What’s it like on the set when everyone has a chance to relax?
CF: Well Patrick (Flueger, who plays Shawn Farrell) and I have been really good friends since season one. We became friends immediately, and he’s even stayed at my house, for weeks at a time. And we’ve just been very close. Joel (Gretsch, who plays Tom Baldwin) and I are very close as well, actually we were supposed to have lunch today but he cancelled.
MB: I actually had a chance to speak with him earlier today.
CF: Right, great. He’s just one of the best people I know. He’s maybe my closest friend, he’s a phenomenal guy.
MB: I’m sure that helps with the father/son dynamic as well.
CF: Yeah, it really does. I think in the beginning Joel found it to be a difficult storyline to play. He plays my father, but he’s only about 15 years older than me, so he was having a bit of a difficult time. But now, at least for me, it’s one of my favorite storylines, because we have such a real bond to play off of. And yeah, there’s a young pod to the cast, but it’s not too cliquey that way, like with the young guys and old guys. Everybody just hung out together. Billy Campbell (who plays Jordan Collier) and I would go out to hang out. It’s probably the most involved cast I’ve ever been a part.
MB: Another nice part of the show is that it’s such a great ensemble cast with strong individual characters. Because of that, you have certain characters that never really interact with each other. Are there any characters or actors that you haven’t had the chance to work with that you’d like to?
CF: I think I’ve pretty much crossed paths with everybody by this point by this season. Opposed to before, when I was pretty much connected to two or three people. But this season, I think I’ve crossed paths with pretty much everybody. I would have liked to have done more scenes with Jackie (McKenzie, who plays Diana Skouris). We’ve had a moment or two here and there. Oh, the one person I would have liked to have done more scenes with is Mahershalalhashbaz (Ali, who plays Richard Tyler), because we finally got have a scene together this season in the “Daddy’s Little Girl” episode, and that was something. I just love that guy. I just loved his work and loved him as a person, but never got to work with him, so I was so psyched about that. And I never got to work with Laura Allen, who played Lilly. I still never got to do that, but now she’s gone and moved on.
MB: I see you’ve done a lot of work in television, but is this your first time as a series regular?
CF: Yeah, yeah it is.
MB: You were in an episode of Smallville, as well. What was that like?
CF: It was a lot of fun. It’s such a different type of show. The greatest part was I worked with the director on it, Rick Rosenthal, a fantastic director who’s done some great films, like that movie Bad Boys with Sean Penn. And we ended up really connecting, and I ended up doing his film just recently called Nearing Grace. It was a phenomenal film and he’s a great director. So something really positive came from that. But the show itself, it was fun. I think I was only working a week on it or something, but it was fun to go out and play. And they definitely don’t pull any punches on that show, they go for it. So it was fun.
MB: I probably shouldn’t mention this, but I’m a bit in love with Kristin Kreuk, who plays Lana, so I’m pretty jealous of you.
MB: You mentioned you recently did a film, was it?
CF: Oh yeah, with Rick, that was a while ago.
MB: Are there any plans or projects coming up that you’d like to share?
CF: Well I recently did a movie last winter called Descent with Rosario Dawson and it’s my first leading man film. And it’s a small release in LA and NY, and I don’t know if it’s going broad now or if it’s going to be more of an art house release, or what’s happening with it now. But it’s quite possibly one of the most intense films I’ve ever seen, let alone been a part of. The New York Times said our film made Irreversible, a French film that disturbed me for weeks, look tame. If it catches on, it’s going to be something ridiculous. It’s almost quite revolutionary in its intimacy as it’s something I’ve never seen done before, like a rape/revenge film. It’s really intensely dark. I don’t know, people either won’t be ready for it and it’ll just go under the rug, or it’ll make a splash. I’m really not sure.
MB: Well I will certainly hope for the latter.
CF: I know, me too.
MB: Although it’s not bad being ahead of your time, either, down the road.
CF: I don’t want to be like one of those painters whose whole career becomes big after you die (laughs).
MB: (Laughs) Well you guys do great work on The 4400, so at the very least that’s something to be proud of.
CF: Thank you, I appreciate that.
MB: Outside of acting, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
CF: Well I’ve been doing a ton of writing, doing a lot of screenwriting lately. I’ve got four scripts that I’m trying to get made, so I’m really active on that front. I’ve been doing some martial arts, and I take my Jeep up to the mountains and go 4×4. I’ve been taking up tennis lately. I love it, but I’m not very good, so I have to find somebody else who isn’t very good to play with.
MB: Well I definitely wish you luck with your screenwriting.
CF: Thank you. I’m exciting about it. There are a couple projects that are getting some attention, so I’m hoping something will be happening this year.
MB: What sort of area are you looking to attack? Drama, comedy
CF: Well, of the four scripts I have, one of them is broad comedy, what of them is a dark Indy comedy, one of them is a thriller I’ve gone all over the map with it. Whatever kind of story interests me, I just go with it. One of them is an adaptation of a novel, and the other is a collaboration, and another one is just myself. I work far better with a partner. When I’m left to my own devices, I have no structure and I go off. I need somebody to tell me I’m going too far or not far enough. I’m learning about that.
MB: Well, you’re still young so there’s a lot of time to fine-tune your craft.
MB: Is there anything else about the show that you’d like to share? I know that they haven’t announced yet if it’s going to be renewed, is that correct?
MB: I don’t think they announce it even before the finale, which is unfortunate.
CF: Yeah, usually we hear around October, so we should know by next month.
MB: Yeah, well it’s definitely a show that is strong enough to carry a few more seasons.
CF: Yeah, I’m curious to see. I think it’s just a matter of numbers, and it’s funny that it comes down to that, but it’s a business.
MB: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me.
CF: No problem.
– Season 4 of The 4400 premieres on the SPACE network in Canada on Wednesday, September 26 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT time.
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